A succession of victories. Such words were made to describe me.
At this moment, I was sure of this.
In front of me sat my heart-stricken opponent. He stared down at his crumbled formation as he tried to swallow the truth. He had been beaten by a nine-year-old child.
However, there was no need for him to feel bad. While it would have been quite embarrassing for him to have lost to any other nine-year-old, he had lost against me. Christina Noir.
I was running through the mansion at one, at three I had a command of language, at five I had read every book in my father’s library, at seven I played the perfect lady at a ball and shocked all of high society. I was a flawless, genius girl. No matter how many years of experience one may have had, it would not be possible to beat such a genius as I.
I had yet another brilliant victory under my belt.
How many was it now? The next person that replaced him was nothing special either. I got passed him without a hitch in no time at all. The ever-mounting victories made the spectators ‘Ohh.’ in awe.
I knew no such thing as defeat. The only thing that I would repeatedly gain was victories. The only things I would see rolling in front me were the corpses of the losers.
A large crowd had gathered around my table as if to bless my many victories. Perhaps it was odd seeing a child play against adults. Even more, this child was beating these adults with a shocking degree of skill.
The black eyed and black haired Leon was the youngest in that crowd, and he was praising me greatly.
“You’re amazing Christina!”
“Fu fufufufu! Of course, I am!”
Leon’s face was bursting with happiness. He could not be more pleased with my victory. Even if he was only happy, because he had increased his money by ten times through betting on me winning, his applause would become my strength. I was the type who grew through being praised.
“Praise me more, Leon!”
“Okay! Christina! The Goddess of Victory must be with…no, perhaps you, yourself are the Goddess of Victory!?”
Apparently, there were others besides Leon who had betted on me, and they all cheered as if being led by him. All of their voices rose to uplift me.
I was drunk on victory and the wine kept pouring.
“Your choice of words are not too terrible, Leon. I think I’ll have you buy me some food later with all that money you’ve earned.”
“I’ll gladly pay for whatever you want to buy and eat, my Goddess!”
“Excuse me. Allow me to play next.”
As I was creating plans with Leon in a most pleasant mood, I sensed yet another person take a seat in order to be sacrificed.
“Oh, the next one eh? Christina! I’m going to bet on you this time as well!”
“You might as well. I’m clearly going to win this!”
It wouldn’t matter who my opponent was. I did not feel like I could lose. I saw Leon off as he went towards the betting table to set the amount, before turning back to see my opponent.
“Fufu, sorry to keep you waiting. I assumed people would start to avoid this table out of fear of my skills, and yet a little oblivious bird has come to—Eh.”
I was attempting an arrogant air that was only appropriate for my hidden identity as a proud Duke’s daughter, but then I froze.
The person who was facing me did not seem to care about my reaction at all.
“Is something the matter, my Goddess of Victory?”
The person who talked to me with a calm voice was a woman.
This lady appeared to be in her mid-thirties, clearly passed the prime of youth. The chair she sat on did not have a backrest, and yet her back was straight as a board. She wasn’t in her usual formal clothing but wore rough, normal clothes. Yet no amount of differences in apparel could disguise the man-eating-fiend.
“What is it?”
There was only one person in this entire world who could make my voice shake so pathetically with just one sharp look.
“Um, no… I, what are you doing here, Miss Toinette?”
For it was Mariwa Toinette who sat there.
“I think that is something I should be asking you, but, very well then. I will tell you if you can win against me. And I will also promise to not pursue any answers as to why the Goddess of Victory is here, nor will I scold her for this later.”
Mariwa did not stretch the ends of her sentences, nor did her tone become pointed. And yet she was emitting a freezing wind. It was so cold that my bones began to rattle.
“Hey, Christina. I just bet on… What is it, Christina?”
Leon asked with suspicion when he saw me shrunken and shivering, but I had no strength left to answer, while being in the face of such danger. What was he thinking? How could he act so calmly when there was such a fearsome beast right in front of him?
And so I asked him one question.
“Leon… How much did you bet on me?”
“Hmm? All of it. Why?”
I experienced an attack of vertigo.
“…Wha? All of it?”
“Well, at first you were quite the dark horse, so betting even a little brought in quite a lot. But you’ve now won too many times so profits have lowered a lot. But since you’re going to win anyway, I thought I’d just the bet all of it this time.”
“Ha, hahaha… I see. Uh, indeed. I have to win, that is all.”
Yes. I could not fall apart here. I just needed to win this. I had no idea how much experience Mariwa had with this game, but I would lose nothing by winning. I would not be scolded, and Leon would not lose his allowance money. We would be able to go and eat as if nothing had happened.
Yes, I needed to win.
I would win. I decided with conviction as I sneered at Mariwa, but her expression was one of boredom.
“Are you finished consulting your friend? Well, then. Let us begin.”
Mariwa did not seem to be dwelling on the outcome. In her mind, she had already won, and so she had no interest in winning or losing. She was thinking about how to deal with this child and how to destroy her. Or at least, that was what her face seemed to say.
As the challenger, Mariwa had the first move. Her hand moved to choose the first game piece.
“I will not criticize your curiosity or wanting to come out to town, but I can’t agree when you play with fire. Your self-esteem has grown, you have an excessive belief in your own strength, but have no sense of caution towards those around you. But worst of all, you are so clueless as to dabble in gambling. Yes, it is a little too much for me to overlook.”
She lowered the game piece that she had raised, finishing her first move without hesitation.
“I will smash that mentality of yours and reshape it into something much better for you.”
Click. The echo of the piece hitting the board seemed to be a reflection of my own heart. It was lacking moisture, having gone completely dry.